This is another hotly debated area of science and the environment at the moment. There are scientists claiming that over half of the oil spilt into the Gulf is completely and miraculously gone, and that bacteria in the water will just take care of the rest. Going by this information, one would think that water quality will be back to normal in a matter of months. Hopefully the public can see past this ridiculous claim. The long term effects of the oil will be seen as time passes, and is predicted by other scientists to take years before we will see water quality near what it originally was.
Reports have Alaska still recovering from the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill. Researchers dug 9000 pits over a large area encompassing heavily or moderately effected sites from the 1989 spill. They found oil in half of these pits, almost 2 decades after the Cleanup was ‘finished’. This is dangerous for local animals like the sea otter which digs pits while foraging, or the Fiddler Crab who burrow under sand for protection.
If we can take lessons from our history, then we need to heed this warning. The oil spill is not over, it will take years for the oil to subside and this means that we need to be diligent with monitoring the area along with the wildlife in the area. The gulf is a very rich biological area, however it also has the potential to be fragile and affected in the long term by this disaster.
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